By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
ON DEMAND, DVD AND DIGITAL
including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play
January 12, 2021
In Battle in Space – The Armada Attacks the Earth has been occupied! This independent movie has all the hallmarks of a SyFy level production, and the budget to pull off some terrific space battles you’d expect from today’s movies on the big screen. This anthology collection of mildly related shorts sees humanity fighting back, but when we’re dealing with wizards and aliens (two words which typically alludes to two different genres of storytelling) in the same breath, trying to decide if this collection is science fiction is tough.
Lukas Kendall, Toby Rawal, Scott Robson, Andrew Jaksch, Sanjay F. Sharma, and Luis Tinoco have ideas on how to tell this story as though it was from the Robotech saga. That’s because Doug Jones is wearing a costume that evokes the image of Lord Doza in the overarching narrative. He preaches a good life and is certainly having fun with the role. However, before I knew it, we’re knee deep in the first tale: the people of Earth aren’t happy with this alien takeover and plot a rebellion.
As for how many aliens have occupied Earth, I was intrigued with the octopus. They aren’t minions of Cthulhu, but prosthetics and CGI touch ups suggest that any effects studio can do the job.
The stories are all about survival against all odds, even though not all of them make the cut for keeping viewers interested. “Agamenon” is almost like The Martian. Insanity plays into this narrative construct of trying to survive in a hostile world. But when he discovers he can breathe the atmosphere, he’s back in a space station and we’re not sure if everything he experienced was a hallucination.
Instead, perhaps “The Perses” sees trouble in an orbiter; someone is not who they claim. Someone is a spy, or we’re dealing with an alien symbiote in control of a human. All it takes is a hole to decompress everything and everyone dies.
“The Caronte” is the best tale of the five and it’s saved for last. In the past, Debbie isn’t paying attention to her little brother. She’s more preoccupied with her social life than to be a big sister. But after a car accident, she has survivor’s guilt and the juxtapositions between her young self and future (it’s implied the two are the same although the teen had an aneurysm) makes for an enticing tale of “I’m doing this for you, kid.” But which reality is real? Was it all imagined? She’s playing a video game where this avatar is making an assault against the entirety of the enemy fleet.
Unlike the previous shorts, the payoff left me feeling good. Earth can be saved when we have people like her. All it takes is to have the right stuff!
3½ Stars out of 5